Human placental renin-Angiotensin system (RAS) expression is highest in early gestation, at a time when placental oxygen tension is at its lowest (1-3%), and promotes placental development. Some miRNAs predicted to target RAS mRNAs are downregulated in early gestation. We tested the hypothesis that low oxygen suppresses expression of miRNAs that target placental RAS mRNAs, thus increasing concentrations of RAS mRNAs. HTR-8/SVneo cells were cultured in 1, 5 and 20% oxygen for 48 h. Differences in miRNA expression were measured on an Affymetrix miRNA microarray (n = 3/group). Those predicted to target RAS mRNAs, or that were decreased in early gestation, were confirmed by qPCR (n = 9/group). RAS protein levels were assessed by ELISAs or immuno-blotting. Microarray analysis identified four miRNAs predicted to target RAS mRNAs that were differentially expressed between 1 and 5% oxygen. Using qPCR, 15 miRNAs that target the RAS were measured in HTR-8/SVneo cells. Five miRNAs were downregulated in 1% compared with 5% oxygen. Expression of a number of RAS mRNAs (ATP6AP2, AGT, ACE and AGTR1) were increased in either, or both, 1 and 5% oxygen compared with 20% oxygen. AGT protein levels were increased in 1% oxygen compared with 5%. Further validation is needed to confirm that these miRNAs target RAS mRNAs directly and that placental development is partly regulated by oxygen-sensitive miRNAs that target RAS mRNAs. Since placental oxygen tension changes across gestation, changes in expression of these miRNAs may contribute to the transgestational changes in placental RAS expression and the resulting effects on placental development.
- renin-angiotensin system
- arterial oxygen tension